Updated: May 5, 2021
Written By: Max Mitchelson
Edited By: Mary Joaquin
Welcome to the Weekly Gaming Round-Up!
In lieu of releases, this week was filled with announcements, bans, and rumors. Pokemon Go Players were unfairly banned again, Capcom released its investigation results from last year’s cyberattack, and the Indian Harvest Festival began on Steam.
In other news, Code Coven is preparing for another game development accelerator, and Square Enix denies acquisition rumors.
Monday, April 12
Pokémon Go players face consecutive seven-day bans, after initial bans. In some cases, users who claimed they did not even break Niantic’s anti-cheat policies, also got banned.
According to a Eurogamer report, players, in either case, wait seven days only to find another ban upon their next login. This can occur up to four times in a row. Some players admitted to Eurogamer that they were using tools to spoof their location, leading to the initial ban. But the rolling bans continued regardless of whether the player even had access to their account, even upon ban appeal.
This is opposed to Niantic’s three-strike policy, which articulates that only the first ban results in a seven-day ban, with the second and third imposing higher penalties. Last year a similar issue plagued iPhone users, with thousands of players receiving bans, despite not breaking Niantic’s terms of service.
Tuesday, April 13
Capcom released the investigation results of the ransomware attack and information theft it fell victim to last November.
According to their update, Capcom determined the attacker gained access through an older backup of a VPN device from their North American subsidiary. The subsidiary was replacing its old VPN devices to accommodate COVID-19 precautions and remote work. After the initial break-in, the attacker later infected some US and Japanese Capcom office computers with ransomware.
To prevent further attacks, Capcom reverified the safety of all VPN devices and created a Security Operation Center to monitor external network connections at all times, alongside other measures.
Though the company and personnel data were compromised, no customer information was stolen or is under threat.
Wednesday, April 14
Steam’s Indian Harvest Festival started this day and will celebrate and showcase games from Indian developers and publishers until April 22.
Among some more recent successes like the top-down hack and slash action game Raji, the festival also hosts a variety of demos, and past, present, and upcoming games. Additionally, like other Steam festivals, games are steeply discounted and various games and developers are highlighted through periodic streams. NODWIN Gaming curated this year's event.
Check out nostalgic adventure games like Forgotten Fields, the twitch action of the Lovely Planet series, and look forward to the narrative cooking game Venba and so much more.
Thursday, April 15
Code Coven, an organization focused on offering technical, professional, and financial assistance to marginalized developers, is teaming up with the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and Grant for the Web for its upcoming game accelerator program.
The boot camp will run from April 21 to July 15 and will support multiple applicants who will be awarded grants of up to $25,000 after completing the program and a prototype. The program is looking to give out $300,000 in grants as part of a larger effort to distribute the Diverse Game Developers Fund, set up by Grant for the Web.
After GDC’s cancellation last year in 2020, Code Coven helped developers recover non-refundable costs for convention and created the Elevate program to assist developers in completing a prototype to be pitch-ready or publishable.
EGD also had the opportunity to speak with Francesca Carletto-Leon, Curriculum Director at Code Coven during Waffle Games 2021.
Friday, April 16
The original report stated that Sony received “recent M&A interest,” according to several bankers following the industry. The rumor went viral, and even trended on Twitter for a time. However, industry experts doubted any merger or sale would occur.
Square Enix’s responded, “ We do not consider selling off the company or any part of its businesses, nor have we received any offer from any third party to acquire the company or any part of its businesses.”
Some experts also predicted the rumor appears to have just been a way for investors to push up the video gaming giant’s stocks after the disappointment of Marvel’s Avengers. Square Enix’s stock rose sharply about 12 percent in the last day or two on the Tokyo stock exchange.
EGD’s Weekly Gaming Round-Up gives a quick look into the newest news in the games industry. From blockbuster triple-A games to indie startups and mods, the Weekly Gaming Round-Up covers it all.
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